Art V Cancer

Chris Thornley aka Raid71 and Julia Hall talk about their new initiative using illustration to raise funds for cancer charities

What would you do if you found out you had cancer? Well designer and illustrator Chris Thornley was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma some time back and it was a lot to come to terms with. After being treated at Manchester Royal Infirmary he got back to his creative ways and wanted to give something back.

With the help of his partner Julia Hall, Chris started off by making art prints to sell via his website under the alias Raid71. Money raised has been donated to Manchester Royal Infirmary Charity, Breast Cancer Campaign and Molar Pregnancy.

Artistic Beauty by Raid71

"Due to the success of the original website, Raid71's Emporium, we thought it better to reinvent ourselves and invite other artists to help raise money as well, and for other cancer charities if they wished to. Chris is the illustrator and I help to package prints and promote the site," says Julia.

Chirs and Julia have already recruited Ben O'Brien (aka Ben the Illustrator) as well as Steven Bonner, whose work will appear on Art V Cancer soon. They are also working with a range of other illustrators so watch this space. Art V Cancer finances the printing; buyers pay for the prints, postage and packaging; and all the profit all goes to a charity.

Ben O'Brien's image for Art V Cancer

The original range features all kinds of positive and touching images, reflecting on some of Chris's experiences of fighting the disease. For instance, there's 'I don't want to die in my sleep' and 'I love you to the moon and back'. Raid71 came up with a design where a silhouette of Steve Jobs is the bite taken out of Apple's logo. When the Jon Mac version went viral, the print Chris made sold well, helping raise extra funds for the charities.

"The response has been fantastic. We are sending prints all over the world with some people buying four at a time and with very positive feedback about what we are achieving," says Julia. "We just wanted to raise money for cancer charities but also for customers to get a little bit of signed original art that they really want. To date we have raised over £2000 which goes to CALLM, Molar Pregnancy & The Breast Cancer Campaign. Art V Cancer is moving quickly from what was a small initiative on our behalf to something a lot bigger and exciting."